Syria: “The Civil Population Is Being Driven to the Slaughterhouse”

Source: FSSPX News

In reaction to the voting of a new ONU resolution concerning the Syrian situation, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikat, the Vatican’s representative, restated in a declaration on May 15, 2013, the necessity of a political solution to put an end to the “blood bath” in the country. Wishing for the return of a “peaceful and harmonious coexistence” in Syria, the permanent observer of the Holy See at the ONU asked for the help of the international community in guaranteeing “the prompt liberation of the innocent victims captured by armed groups.”

Speaking of the two Metropolitans, Syrian-Orthodox Gregorio Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek-Orthodox Boulos al-Yazigi, and of the two priests, Armenian Catholic Michel Kayyal and Greek Orthodox Maher Mahfouz, who are still in the hands of their captors, Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart, metropolitan archbishop of Alep for the Greek (Melkite) Catholics, declared on June 3: “There is nothing new. We know nothing, and that is a sign of the reigning chaos. The kidnapped persons accomplished humanitarian works and helped the population to live in our tragic situation. That is very worrisome. Where are we heading?”  The archbishop continued in his words to the agency Fides: “We see only chaos and destruction in the midst of a conflict of everyone against everyone. In a disfigured country, where the civil population is being driven to the slaughterhouse, Pope Francis calls for dialogue and reconciliation. Steps need to be taken urgently and we hope that the Conference of Geneva will be a turning point in favor of a political solution to the Syrian conflict.” And he added: “We suffer from a lack of merchandise, of combustibles, of electricity, sometimes even of food. But what makes us suffer even more is to see that the future is growing darker and darker.”

Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, titular of the Syrian Catholic Archeparchy of Hassaké-Nisibi in the province of Jara, in Mesopotamia, declared on May 16: “The militia of the Free Syrian Army (ASL) and the jihadist groups are making the vehicles that come from the zones of Damascus and Alep carrying merchandise pay heavy tolls. They say that these sums help to buy arms, that it is a sort of ‘revolutionary tax’.” This has made the prices of food commodities in our cities and villages multiply by ten, he explained to the agency Fides.

The Syrian Catholic archbishop deplored “the plague of events” that is causing enormous suffering in many families. “The surrounding zones are controlled by opposing groups and the roads towards Alep and Damascus are interrupted. In the last few months, between Hassaké and Kamishly, there have been over 100 kidnappings.” Many of those kidnapped are still in the hands of their captors, admitted Archbishop Hino.

Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, Maronite patriarch of Antioch, submitted to Pope Francis on May 22, 2013, a detailed report on the situation in the Middle East, in particular in the Christian communities. “The Pope is worried and is constantly seeking the means to act. He needs to know the objective truth of the matter.” “Pope Francis takes no end of interest in the problem,” maintained the Lebanese prelate, confiding that he has solicited his intervention for peace in Syria and the Middle East.

When questioned on the Syrian crisis and on the situation in the Middle East, Cardinal Raï stated that if they persist in providing the different fundamentalist Muslim groups with money and arms,” there is a high “risk that the Muslims who are in the majority moderate will go over to the fundamentalist side.” Indeed, “the Christians of the Middle East have the great role of guaranteeing Muslim moderation,” but granted that they “are weakening because of the war, the economic situation, and are emigrating, (...) the moderate Muslims are being obliged to go over to the fundamentalist side.” And the Cardinal warned: “We are playing with fire and we are likely to burn ourselves.”

The Lebanese cardinal also stated that his country will never close its borders, “even if in Lebanon we have 1.5 million Palestinians and 1.2 million Syrians,” he added, for “we have suffered and we understand what it is like.”

(sources: fides/apic/imedia – DICI#276 June 7, 2013)

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